U.S. President Barack Obama met Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican, with reports stating that the world leaders held a 50-minute private talk.
"It is a great honor. I'm a great admirer," Obama told the Roman Catholic leader upon meeting him. "Thank you so much for receiving me." It was the first such meeting between the two leaders and their 50-minute conversation was considered an "extraordinarily long time," Catholic News Service reported.
Obama said that while the two had a "wide-ranging discussion," they focused on two concerns that the pope had: the poor and growing inequality, and conflict around the world. more >>
Atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins, who was Prospect magazine's "world's top thinker" last year, has not been nominated for the title this year. Pope Francis, meanwhile, was nominated.
The magazine compiles a list of individuals they identify as "engaging most originally and profoundly with the central questions of the world today" and asks people from around the world to vote on the nominees.
British hospitals used the bodies of aborted and miscarried babies to heat their buildings, the United Kingdom's Channel 4 has shockingly revealed.
A Channel 4 show airing on Monday night reveals that the bodies of thousands of preborn babies were included as clinical waste in 10 National Health Service (NHS) trusts and subsequently incinerated. Two others admitted to burning the human remains as part of their "waste-to-energy" plants.
Health Minister and Conservative Member of Parliament, Dr. Dan Poulter, decried the practice as "totally unacceptable." more >>
Cocaine going to the Vatican was stopped by officials in Germany, according to reports Sunday. The drugs, valued at over $50,000 were heading to the Vatican's post office in 14 condoms.
The cocaine-filled condoms were sent to the Vatican from an unnamed South American country in January but intercepted in at an international airport in Leipzig, Germany, the German finance ministry told Agence France-Presse. Inside the package was 12 ounces of liquid cocaine, which has a street value of about 40,000 euros or $55,200 USD.
"I can confirm the incident as reported," the ministry spokesman told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. "But we cannot say anything more about the case," he added, citing that it is now in the hands of local authorities. more >>
A law passed earlier this month seeking to reform Turkey's criminal justice system has allowed five men accused of killing three Christians to be placed under house arrest.
Emre Günaydın, Cuma Özdemir, Hamit Çeker, Salih Gürler and Abuzer Yildirim are suspected of torturing and slitting the throats of Necati Aydin, Ugur Yuksel and Tilmann Geske in Malatya, a city in the eastern part of the country, in 2007. The men were previously placed in prison as they awaited trial, for what are believed to be religiously motivated attacks, as court records have indicated that suspects claimed they were "defending their country and religion, Islam."
In the seven years since the death of the two Turks and one German, the trial has been delayed several times; once when a witness testified that the defendants were also involved in a plot against the government, and several other instances, when prosecution witnesses failed to appear in court. more >>
Russian troops on Saturday seized a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea, a day after the completion of the region's annexation, while Russia's state media explained the basis for sanctions against "anti-Russian" U.S. congressmen and senators, including John McCain and John Boehner.
Ukrainian forces were forced to vacate a naval base and surrender two flagship vessels to Russian forces Saturday. Six Russian armored vehicles broke through the gates of Belbek Airbase even as troops fired warning shots into the air, CNN reported, quoting a spokesman for Ukraine's Ministry of Defense in Crimea. A journalist was injured in the attack.
In addition, pro-Russian self-defense forces stormed and captured the Novofederoskoe military base in Crimea. more >>